The latest version of Akamai's Media Services Live streaming solution, featuring the addition of new liveOrigin capabilities specifically for live and 24/7 linear OTT video delivery, earned two awards at last week's 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas. Streaming Media named it one of its six "Best of NAB" products while TV Technology recognized it with a "Best of Show" award.
There's no doubt the at-show demonstration was key to helping garner those accolades. We were pleased to partner with Playmaker Media, the live streaming and VOD technology service launched last year by NBC Sports Digital, to feature a live OTT feed of NBC Sports Network streaming via Apple TV displayed adjacent to a local Las Vegas cable feed being delivered through a standard set-top box (for the record, the monitors and calibration were identical).
In side-by-side comparisons, the OTT feed demonstrated improvements in picture and performance. Picture quality was aided thanks to the signal originating as AVC at NBC Sports Network and being delivered as such through the Apple TV. The cable feed, meanwhile, was converted at the local headend to MPEG-2 in order to meet the set-top box requirements.
What's more, both feeds were consistently delivered within one or two seconds of each other, meaning there was little-to-no latency between cable and OTT and vise versa. If you've ever been live streaming a sporting event in one room and found yourself wondering why you're hearing cheers from the room with the cable/satellite feed of the same event, you'll get why this is a big deal.
Eric Black, SVP & CTO of NBC Sports Digital / Playmaker Media, certainly understands: "Not only do we want viewer expectations to be high no matter how or where they're enjoying our content, we want to make sure the experience is consistent and those expectations are met - if not exceeded - whether it's on cable, satellite or OTT. NBC Sports Digital and Playmaker were excited to join Akamai in this live proof of concept at NAB, which clearly showed that expectations for OTT viewing should be at least on par with those of cable and satellite."